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Challenges facing CIOs and IT leaders in 2018

There’s no denying the importance and relevance of tech in modern business – but what should CIOs and IT leaders be doing now in order to stay ahead of the game?

Perhaps the most fundamental challenge facing CIOs is to remember that as tech evolves, so must their approaches. Successful organisations are those which adapt to change and constantly innovate in order to meet customer expectations and keep pace with competitors. A successful CIO will drive processes that facilitate this ability to evolve in a timely fashion.

Balancing the need for rapid change with security needs is also a crucial issue – of course, no one wants a data breach thus security must be implemented accordingly, but not using methods that might slow down other processes. Internal security is just as important as external firewalls, especially if departments are responsible for sourcing their own software, rather than every purchase being routed through the IT department. The value of data has never been higher, and as well as keeping data secure, the analysis of data in order to inform business-critical decisions can make the difference between success and failure. Hiring the talent to transform data into information readable by all key stakeholders is a key role for a CIO.

It is also vital that CIOs can plan and execute major systems updates. Company reputations can quickly be damaged if systems updates or mergers of old and new technology don’t go according to plan. The challenge for the CIO here is to create realistic expectations and timeframes, and to ensure they have the right staff to propel a digital transformation programme.

None of this change could happen without budget, and a CIO needs to balance investment in the future with enough funds to undertake everyday IT tasks – the cogs that keep the business running.

Finally, a strong CIO needs to ensure that they have access to a workforce with the right skills to implement technology changes and sustain innovation. By its very nature, technology is ever-evolving, and hot skills right now (maybe machine learning expertise or data science) may not be as in-demand in a few years. The right recruiter will work with a CIO to ensure that current roles are filled with the most appropriate talent and that skills needed for the near future are brought on board or that suitable training is offered to employees and contractors.

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